How Can I Become A Judge?

"I am interested in going into some kind of legal profession. That much I’ve worked out for sure. I am really fascinated by law and everything surrounding it. And I want to make a difference. Everyone thinks about becoming a lawyer, and that’s something I am really considering, but I am curious about other court room jobs which people don’t talk about as often. How, for example, do you become a judge? I’ve heard judges are paid really well, and they definitely are in a position to make a difference."

asked by Kathy from Philadelphia, PA

Judges are indeed paid well, sometimes more than $200,000 a year. There is a reason for that high pay, which is that the job is not an easy one. It comes with tremendous personal responsibility, and it can be emotionally challenging. You are called on to make decisions which will impact many peoples’ lives forever. Each day you go to work you have to be able to bear the weight of difficult choices on your conscience. As you said though, you do have a chance to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives from that position.

To become a judge, you must first work as an attorney, so it is great you are interested in doing that as well. You will need to start out by doing “pre-law,” which is not a degree. You can pick pretty much any major and get into law school as long as you can pass the review board and the school’s requirements.

Look up those requirements so you take all the prerequisites, and pick a subject which interests you and could be useful. English and History are two of the best choices.

Once you graduate with your bachelor’s degree, you will have to get into law school and then graduate with a law degree. After that, you will need to take and pass the bar exam to prove you are ready to practice law. Next you will build up experience in the courtroom working as a lawyer.

There is no better way to learn all about the judicial system and the law than becoming an attorney and participating in the system firsthand.

After you’ve built up enough experience as an attorney, you can apply for a position as a judge in whatever court you are interested in working for. Judges are typically elected into their seats, so you will also need to build political connections and garner support, since you will in a sense be running for an office. So that is something else you will need to do while you are gaining experience as an attorney.

It is a long road to becoming a judge, but it is necessary for it to be that way since judges arguably are among the most powerful people in the entire country. You have great power no matter what court you sit in, and therefore you need a lot of experience.

You also need compassion, respect, empathy, people skills, and the ability to pass a fair judgment. These skills can’t be taught to you in a classroom.

Career Spotlight: Judge



A judge presides over a court of law. They handle disputes within the court room. Some judges have specialties within the field of law. A judge values justice and helping others solve their issues in [...]

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